KATHMANDU, July 7: Security experts have criticized the act of a cabinet minister and senior government officials spreading news about the presence of Uranium mine in Upper Mustang.
They are of the opinion that the act will invite security threats in the long-term as the state should explore a metal like Uranium secretly.
According to them, spreading the news about the presence of the valuable and strategic metal only on the basis of detecting radiations at a place that has weak security will only add to the woes.
Former army chief Rookmangud Katawal remarked that it was inappropriate to publicize the issue that should have been informed only to the concerned ministry and officials.
“The state should investigate and explore it secretly, spreading the news might add to security challenges,” he said, “Only the concerned ministry and officials should have been apprised.”
A team led by Minister for Industry, Som Prasad Pandey had reached Mustang district bordering China in the last week of June to explore salt, petrol and uranium mines.
Officials and technicians from the Department of Mines and Geology declared the presence of Uranium from the field after detecting radiations.
Former Lieutenant General, Balananda Sharama opined that the declaration of presence of Uranium was an open invitation to international enemies and mafias.
“Spreading the news without evaluating possible challenges was inappropriate,” he said.
He pointed out that a country like Nepal that lacks resources should not publicize the presence of Uranium mines.
An official of the Department of Mines and Geology, who was a part of the team in earlier exploration of Uranium, remarked that the concerned officials should be responsible as Nepal could be on the radar of neighboring countries and international terrorism.
“We will move forward on benefitting from the mine at the soonest,” Minister Pandey had said, “The government is committed to start Uranium extraction abiding by international standards, treaties after taking suggestions from experts.”
Experts said that it would be difficult for Nepal to sell and transport Uranium except that for energy generation and medical purposes.
An expert said that the government should now move ahead as per the advice, suggestion and guidance of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
There is no atomic law in Nepal at present. A draft of the law is currently at the Nepal Law Commission.
A source claimed that some private companies from India and China are pressing the government to promulgate the law to pave the way for them to extract the Uranium mines.